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Classon & Andrae Explore Pitfalls; Triumphs Of Midlife In ‘I’ve Been Waiting All My Life To Be Middle-Aged’

on August 13, 2019 - 8:20am
Singer/guitarist Matthew Andrae provides much more than background music to Carrie Classon's words. The music gives the material a whole other dimention. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Carrie Classon signs copies of her memoir 'Blue Yarn' after the performance. Some of her stage material is drawn from the book, some from her syndicated column and some is brand new. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Matthew Andrae's very first guitar teacher, Marge Agnew, was in the audience Aug. 8 and Andrae serenaded her with an impromtu rendition of his first piece at the age of seven, 'The Sneaky Snake'. Andrae grew up in Los Alamos. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Los Alamos Daily Post

Mesa Public Library Author Speaks event was something extra special this month. Author and humorist Carrie Classon and singer-songwriter Matthew Andrae gave Los Alamos a preview performance of I’ve Been Waiting All My Life to be Middle-Aged Aug. 8 at Fuller Lodge.

The duo will be promoting the show this fall to theater presenters and producers in Sedona, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New York, but before they take their show on the road, they previewed the material right here in Los Alamos. Classon lives in town now and Andrae was raised here.

The show explores midlife, from the ridiculous to the sublime. By turns touching and hilarious, Classon’s stories will resonate with everyone, but it helps if you too are middle-aged. Andrae’s music is much more than a backdrop. It weaves seamlessly with Classon’s dialogue, taking it to another level.

Classon warmed up the audience with some little-known fun facts about Fuller Lodge. For example, did you know that, Enrique Fermi was an enthusiastic participant in square dances at the Lodge during the Manhattan Project?

The show is still a work in progress and Classon and Andrae welcomed the opportunity to try out their material on a very appreciative hometown audience.

“We guarantee the unexpected,” Classon said.

Actually, things went off as smooth as butter for the most part.

The thing I like most about Classon’s writing and live performance is her willingness to be vulnerable in front of an audience. She talks about everything from terrible toenails that her husband has to saw off with an actual saw, to moments like the one where she was traveling alone in Africa. She’d just lost her possessions to some boy bandits while she swam and was feeling extra fragile, when a local asked her, why are you alone? The newly single Carrie, who had been dumped for the other woman, finally replied, “because I am.”

Being alone wasn’t what she planned on, but it was what she got, so she made herself a brand new life. Classon started writing at 50, and not only that, she enrolled in the nonfiction program at UNM-Albuquerque.

How was sitting in class with a bunch of smart 20-somethings?

“It’s humbling, it’s frightening, it’s worth it,” she said.

Classon has a theatre background and it shows. Her stage presence convinces the audience that her revelations are meant for them personally, the musings of a friend (a very literate, talented friend) over coffee.

Copies of Classon’s memoir, Blue Yarn, are available at CB FOX. Don’t miss a chance to enjoy her wit, whimsy, pathos and wisdom.

Andrae performs regularly at La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe and the Tesuque Casino and hearing him sing and play is well worth the drive. At Fuller Lodge, he performed his original song, “Sweet Celine” which garnered more than half a million YouTube views in five days. A guitar master, who is trained in both classical and jazz guitar, Andrae also sings like an angel.

There's a second chance to see Classon and Andrae at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 22 at Fuller Lodge for a Christmas show. You won’t want to miss it.